Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some lessons from snakes

Below are some lessons that emerged from discussions with my son, which is why the reading level is more basic. Enjoy!

Some lessons from snakes
By Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver and Shneur Zalman Oliver (age 7)

What we heard about: There is a kind of snake called a Rock Python. This snake looks very pretty. It uses its beauty to make people come close to it, but when they do, it wraps itself around them, and suffocates them to death.

Lesson: Sometimes the Yetzer Hara makes an aveirah look like it’s pretty and fun, but really it’s a trick. The Yetzer Hara is using this as a trap to hurt your

We see this also in the story of Adam and Chava. Hashem told Adam and Chava that they could eat from all the different types of trees, except for one. But when Chava “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a pleasure to the eyes,” she did the aveirah of eating from it, and in the end Adam and Chava had to leave
Gan Eden.

Summary: Don’t let the Yetzer Hara trick you by things that seem pretty and exciting.
What we heard about: Once someone had a constrictor as a pet. He thought, “Although I know that these snakes hurt a lot of people, I know how to handle it properly so it won’t hurt me. And I’ve played with it, and even put it around my neck many times, and nothing happened, so I have nothing to worry about.” But one time he played with it, and that time, it wrapped itself around his neck, and killed him.

Lesson: A Jew knows that every Mitzvah has a reward, and every aveirah has a punishment, G–d forbid. Sometimes he does an aveirah once, and again, and he doesn’t see anything bad happening in his life. So he says to himself: “Now that I see that nothing bad happened to me, I don’t have anything to worry about.” But then, G–d forbid, something bad does happen.

Summary: It’s very silly to think that we can get away with doing aveiros.

On lessons

The Baal Shem Tov teaches[1] that everything in this world is b'hashgachah protis. Everything a person sees or hears, everything that happens, is not by chance; it is all planned by Hashem. And if Hashem sees fit to make a thing happen, the Baal Shem Tov explained, then we should try our best to learn something from it. If we see or hear something, we should know that there is a lesson in it, teaching us how to serve Hashem.

[1] Kesser Shem Tov, Addendum, sec. 127ff.